Hok Sochetra faces his first big test as coach of the Cambodian national team as they take on the Philippines in a friendly slated for a 6pm kickoff under the lights at Olympic Stadium.
Their last meeting, during the 2010 Suzuki Cup qualifiers in Vientiane, produced a tepid 0-0 stalemate and Sochetra remains wary of the visitors, who grabbed third at the 2012 AFC Challenge Cup in March under the leadership of German Michael Weiss.
“It will be a hard match for us, as the Philippines have played many friendlies before meeting us,” the Cambodia coach said.
“However, I think we will do well because we have enjoyed good preparation, with many players improving daily in terms of energy, knowledge and discipline.”
FIFA’s official head-to-head record between the teams since 1972 shows Cambodia holding a slight edge with three wins compared to the Philippines’ two, alongside three draws.
Although the home side report no injury concerns among their 27-strong squad, Sochetra is yet to settle on a captain from a shortlist that includes his brother-in-law, Phnom Penh Crown defender Tieng Tiny, Naga Corp midfielder Sun Sopanha, Build Bright United midfielder Chhum Sothearoth and Boeung Ket Rubber Field forward Keo Sokngorn.
Sochetra will drop two players immediately after the game as they continue their domestic training schedule in the build up to the October 5-13 qualification tournament for the AFF Suzuki Cup in Myanmar. The Philippines have already qualified for the finals, which will be staged in Malaysia and Thailand from November 24 to December 22.
The Cambodian squad will be further trimmed to 20 men as they head to a Malaysia training camp that includes a friendly against the hosts’ national team on October 2.
To contact the reporter on this story: Ung Chamroeun at [email protected]